[Column] Simon McCullough: Multi-cloud is redefining app development

Let’s take a look at how multi-cloud is changing the app development game and bringing previously siloed teams closer together.

Multi-cloud has moved from tentative experiment to a fundamental component of IT strategies. From developers to security teams, workloads are migrating to the cloud in one way or another, whether you know it or not.

Significantly, cloud adoption has powered a fundamental shift in how organizations think about app development and delivery. This is particularly evident with SaaS-based cloud models, which give businesses the freedom to choose exactly where cloud operations are deployed while also minimizing cost.

Working in a multi-cloud context has clearly spurred more agile and holistic ways of doing business. Take for example the increasingly widespread adoption of DevOps, NetOps and SecOps.

As app development moves from on premises to cloud infrastructures, businesses must rethink how different functions engage with new approaches to software development. All teams have different requirements and ways of working, so it is critical to strike a balance that delivers results across the board without friction or compromise.

Delighting DevOps

A DevOps culture is all about velocity and continuous innovation. The cloud enables developers and DevOps to achieve exactly that by providing a standardised, efficient and centralised platform for testing, deployment and production.

It enables a more fluid development process that matches the pace at which DevOps can crank out applications, without sacrificing stability, scalability and security.

There is always wiggle room for any rapid, last-minute changes related to continuous integration and delivery.

DevOps teams should treat the cloud as the new norm and an extension of their network infrastructure. This means fully embracing public cloud native environments to manage application performance within the cloud, as well as leveraging SaaS models to keep costs low and support innovation scalability.

Keeping NetOps happy

The role of NetOps is changing from teams that own and monitor hardware and software assets, to those focused on building a multi-component network ecosystem supporting a variety of business objectives.

As more workloads move into the cloud, the pressure is mounting for NetOps teams to rapidly adapt and transition from manual tools and slower processes to more efficient systems compatible with agile DevOps models.

NetOps also face pressure to reach automated parity with app development teams. They will soon become an application development bottleneck if they cannot keep up with continuous application updates. Fortunately, the problem is eased with SaaS cloud services. NetOps can now address specific areas of the business where legacy networks limit innovation, and subsequently target more fluid, digital infrastructures to collaborate better with other teams.

Giving security teams confidence

IT operations have KPIs around security and service levels, which can explain their generally more conservative approaches to technology adoption. Given the choice, security teams would operate with zero-trust networks – and rightly so.

In fact, a recent F5 survey focusing on DevOps and NetOps behaviours discovered that security in the cloud was an ‘afterthought’ for many developers, as they prioritise speed over security and reliability concerns.

 It is important to understand that cloud services can work as an extension of security teams, equipping them with the insights and tools required to keep up with the changing threat landscape. They can also ensure the right governance so they can monitor and balance the needs of innovation and control (i.e. via dashboards and reports).

Better together

In today’s software-defined era, cloud adoption can only be positive for business-critical application development. The market not only demands more effective production process, but our application-centric world requires speed and stability of service.

It is important to remember that everyone is working towards the same end goal: supporting the continuous delivery of quality applications to market. Collaboration and partnerships are easier to establish when all parties share the platform that delivers the apps and have access to the underlying analytics to refine and shape objectives.

The right multi-cloud approach and support must be inclusive and treat infrastructure teams, developers, and business users as equals.

Multi-cloud’s cultural barriers are disappearing, and it is essential to collaborate in the cloud or risk falling behind the innovation curve. Make sure you are ready for both the implications and opportunities.

Simon McCullough is the senior channel account manager at F5 Networks

SEACOM invests in fibre capacity to support cloud computing

Pan-African service provider SEACOM has announced plans to double the data capacity on its broadband submarine cable system from 1.5 terabytes to 3 terabytes. The move will see more businesses on the continent utilize emerging technologies such as cloud computing.

SEACOM CEO Byron Clatterbuck says the decision is informed by the increasing demand for cloud-based data processing by companies with multinational operations across the continent.

“It’s not just about connecting from Africa to Europe and Asia anymore,” Clatterbuck said. “A lot of content and computing power is moving onto the continent, so connectivity requirements are becoming more regional, and specifically interregional. With such a complex environment, greater capacity is essential.”

SEACOM is already providing direct broadband access to corporate customers through its SEACOM Business arm.

As a partner to African business, the undersea broadband cable services provider has already enabled cloud-based operations for a variety of companies through high-speed, secure and reliable connectivity to platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Going forward, the company says it plans on expanding further inland, widening fibre access across the continent while targeting large and medium corporations with its premium offerings.

“You will see more terrestrial cables being laid, and the quality of those builds will get better,” Clatterbuck explained. He added “This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges. There is a long way to go in terms of basic infrastructure provision, relating to roads, rails and highways, all of which make it easier and more affordable to deploy fibre-optic networks.

In April, SEACOM announced the conclusion of the agreement for the 100% acquisition of FibreCo Telecommunications in November 2018. FibreCo owns and operates a national open access dark fibre network, providing infrastructure and connectivity services across South Africa. Acknowledging its benefits for the South African economy and local citizens, the South African Competition Commission approved the acquisition in March.

The FibreCo acquisition represents another significant step for SEACOM in fulfilling its vision to increase the company’s 2019 national footprint in South Africa and Africa as a whole through the consolidation of fibre assets. SEACOM believes this is necessary for the evolution of the market, particularly with the increased demand for data owing to the growth in fibre based connectivity and emergence in technologies such as 5G.

The acquisition of FibreCo further enables SEACOM to scale and upgrade its African Ring by connecting its East and West coast submarine assets with a robust network of trans-South African fibre.

While SEACOM connects South Africa to the east coast of Africa, India and Europe, FibreCo network runs along South Africa’s highest-traffic transmission routes and connects over 60 points of presence across the country that include key data centres in major metros like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban and East London.

Additional end-to-end fibre connects the SEACOM subsea cable system (which lands in Mtunzini on the east coast of South Africa) to the WACS cable (which falls at Yzerfontein, on the west coast of the country), ensuring fully redundant high-speed ring protection around the African continent.

By expanding its wholesale portfolio to include several national long-distance services and last mile metro connectivity, SEACOM has become the provider of choice to local and international data communications customers.

Lighting up additional fibre across South Africa also creates a platform for SEACOM to deliver affordable, high-speed Internet connectivity and cloud services to traditionally-underserved mid-tier cities and towns along the new routes.

www.seacom.mu

[Column] Trent Odgers: Maximizing data availability using a multi-cloud approach

The ways businesses leverage cloud to manage and maximize the value of their data continues to evolve.

Following the launch of two multi-national data centers in South Africa recently, the years when adopting cloud-based solutions felt like the first step into some brave new world are well and truly behind us.

However, this is ushering a new era of multi-cloud deployment – one which is attracting attention, questions, and scepticism from local businesses.

A hybrid cloud is an amalgamation of on-premises “private cloud”, public cloud and managed Cloud Service Provider (CSPs) environments into a single entity where the data is physically located in multiple datacenters to deliver the right fit for a specific workload. It is a nod towards the fact that businesses are increasingly using different clouds for different purposes. 

In today’s digital economy, 81% of enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy and South African businesses have already adopted this digital gold rush with many more who are planning to do so. 

It is common for the IT industry to promote the idea of a one-stop-shop or single provider strategy – to avoid the perceived inefficiency and confusion of dealing with multiple vendors. 
This is the “traditional way” of doing IT, which had its place, but with the speed at which the world is changing, businesses can truly deliver on IT’s requirements using the hybrid approach. 

Data is now described as the new oil of the digital economy, and it has become a company’s most valuable resource. As businesses demand an infrastructure which maximises the potential value of that data, IT departments are under pressure to deliver.

For example, a business may wish to store data from its business unit in Google Cloud for scalability at relatively low expense but use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its R&D databases to enjoy the benefits of AI and voice-assisted search.

And in the same instance, that business could be using Microsoft Azure to help drive its productivity solutions or mission-critical enterprise resource planning processes, while keeping a copy of all the data on-premises or hosted at a local cloud provider. 

Previously, the only viable decision for the business would have been to make a judgment call based on its priority needs and budget constraints. Today, the best strategic option is to adopt a multi-cloud approach.

Data-driven transformation

Already, there is a movement for organisations to become more data-driven. Decision-makers are recognising the importance of data in both high-level business strategy as well as on the operational side of their business. 

Furthermore, consumers and employees are beginning to appreciate the true value of their data, which means businesses must ensure that the people who share data with them see the value in doing so through receiving more personalised experiences.

People want to know that their data is protected, secure and also want greater transparency about what it is being used for.

Of course, in South Africa, this is where it is critical to adhere to corporate governance requirements, especially the likes of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

 Fortunately, with local multi-national data centres, aspects such as data sovereignty and speed of accessing data are no longer concerns.

But creating this data-driven culture is underpinned by continuous digital transformation – embracing the latest and greatest technologies which allow the business to repeatedly lift its performance levels. 

According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda report, making progress towards becoming a digital business is a top priority for CIOs – and the proliferation towards multi-cloud reflects this trend.

Despite this, the latest Veeam Cloud Data Management Report reveals that more than one in ten decision-makers said their organisation has experienced over 10 unplanned outages in the last 12 months, with 65 minutes being the average length of time unplanned outages last. 

Successful multi-cloud deployments depend on the always-on availability of all apps and data. So, businesses looking to take advantage of multi-cloud environments must ensure that their apps and data are always available – and that their culture of data-driven decision-making is fully supported to maintain customer confidence and brand reputation.

Availability in the multi-cloud

The complexity of maintaining availability within a multi-cloud environment is the reliance on multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). While all major vendors and CSPs will make backup and disaster recovery (DR) solutions available to their customers, each provider has different protocols, shared responsibility models, service level agreements (SLAs) and capabilities. 

The last thing any business wants to hear when disaster strikes is that they are not adequately protected or that recovery has failed.

While no business, regardless of whether it is using multi-cloud or not, can guarantee that it will never experience unplanned downtime, every business can ensure that it is prepared for this possibility.

Even having local data centres is no guarantee that there will never be any downtime. South African businesses opting for multi-cloud need to ensure that they have an availability solution which sits across their entire cloud platform, making cloud data protection easy with a seamless process for sending data offsite to the cloud.

For businesses using multi-cloud to power their digital transformation in the bid to establish a more data-driven culture across the organisation, data is akin to running water – a utility which all rely on and must be available at all times. 

Businesses embracing multi-cloud should not be put off by the prospect of working with multiple vendors as software-based platforms can give the peace of mind and a turnkey solution to minimising downtime.

Trent Odgersis Cloud and Hosting Manager for Africa at Veeam

African cloud market takes off bouyed by demand from public and private sectors, report

The African cloud has arrived. While the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching according to a new report by Research and Markets.

 African banks are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based.

Governments are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base.

 And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast. For African markets, cloud, virtualization and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution.

 Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

The report highlights the near term economic, commercial and investor value opportunity offered by the rise of the African cloud.

Building on the author’s established analysis of African enterprise and digital infrastructure markets, 18 months of research and 100+ interviews and conversations, The Rise of the African Cloud explores the readiness of African markets for thriving private and public cloud services; it analyzes cloud demand and use case patterns, at segment level, from financial services to the public sector and startups; it estimates and projects cloud services market size; it details the competitive strengths of global hyperscale cloud providers and how their battle is translating in the African context; it outlines the impact of cloud services on Africa’s managed service provider ecosystem and telcos’ evolving enterprise businesses; and it breaks down the investment case within the African cloud value chain, from enterprise connectivity to data centers and SaaS.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Optimal IdM partners with Precise Technologies to distribute cloud solution in Africa and Middle East

Optimal IdM, a global provider of Identity Access Management (IAM) solutions, has partnered with Precise Technologies who will be the exclusive value-added distributor (VAD) of The OptimalCloud™ in the META market – Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

The OptimalCloud™ is a scalable and customizable Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution that deploys easily and provides seamless and secure access to thousands of applications using single sign-on technology. The OptimalCloud offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) and adaptive authorization from any data store, provides delegated administration and user management enablement and can be deployed in the cloud, or federated to other organizations. The OptimalCloud also comes with year-round support and a guaranteed uptime.

Precise Technologies, a VAD specializing in disruptive and emerging technologies focused on cyber security, information security, digital & cloud transformation, and AI-based analytics solutions, will now distribute and support Optimal IdM in expanding its market presence in the META region, by fostering a mutually beneficial partnership.

“We are looking forward to introduce Optimal IdM to the META region and we are confident we will be able to help grow new business for Optimal IdM in META to the next level and support customers with our sales and technical team locally available across the region,” said Ranjit Pillai, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Precise Technologies.

“We are very excited to be working with Precise Technologies on our outreach into the META region,” said Chris Curcio, Vice President of partners and channels for Optimal IdM. “Expanding our products and services, like The OptimalCloud, into the region has been a top priority and partnering with a respected organization like Precise Technologies is exactly what we wanted.”

www.optimalidm.com

www.precise-tech.net

Cloud-based services keep global sourcing market on growth trajectory

The global sourcing market maintained its growth trajectory in the second quarter, boosted by growing demand for cloud-based as-a-service solutions, according to the latest state-of-the industry report from Information Services Group (ISG), a global technology research and advisory firm.

Data from the ISG Index™, which measures commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract value (ACV) of $5 million or more, show second-quarter ACV for the combined global market (both as-a-service and managed services) rose 5 percent, to $13.7 billion.

It was the third consecutive quarter the combined global market surpassed $13 billion in ACV, but the first time in the last three quarters it did not establish a new quarterly ACV record, falling just shy of last quarter’s record $13.9 billion.

As-a-service sourcing registered its second-best quarterly ACV ever, at $6.7 billion, up 14 percent over the prior year.

 Both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), at $4.9 billion, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), at $1.8 billion, were up 14 percent. IaaS, long the growth engine of this segment, trailed off sequentially this quarter due to slowness in Asia Pacific, particularly China, while SaaS recorded its fourth consecutive record ACV quarter as it climbs toward the $2 billion mark.

Managed services, at $7 billion of ACV, achieved only the seventh quarter this decade at or above that level, but nonetheless dipped 3 percent versus an exceptionally strong second quarter last year.

The 491 contract awards in the latest quarter, up 1 percent, kept alive a string of six consecutive quarters above 400 awards – a sign of both strong demand and continuing market fragmentation.

Within managed services, IT outsourcing (ITO), at $5.3 billion, was down 7 percent in the second quarter, reflecting the continuing shift of data center infrastructure to the cloud.

Business process outsourcing (BPO), meanwhile, climbed 14 percent, to $1.7 billion, on strong demand for horizontal back-office functions such as finance and accounting and procurement, as well as in the facilities management space.

“The global commercial outsourcing market is stable and healthy,” said Steve Hall, partner and president of ISG. “Despite macro-economic and geopolitical risks, technology spend continues to increase. With the rapid changes in digital business, shifting consumer demands and increased competition, enterprises can’t afford to hit pause. We likely will see some macro-economic headwinds before the year is out, but the technology tailwinds are far stronger.”

For the first half, ISG reported combined market ACV of $27.6 billion, up 10 percent. The growth was driven entirely by as-a-service, which, at $13.7 billion, climbed 23 percent, with IaaS up 28 percent, to $10.1 billion, and SaaS up 9 percent, to $3.6 billion.

Managed services overall was flat, at $14 billion, with ITO also flat at $10.9 billion. BPO was down 1 percent, to $3.1 billion. As-a-service in the first half represented 49 percent of the combined market, versus 44 percent in the same period last year.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

EMEA’s combined market ACV of $5 billion was up 3 percent versus last year. In the managed services segment, ACV was $3.2 billion, about even with the first quarter, but down 1 percent versus a year ago. The two consecutive quarters above $3 billion may signal a return to sourcing levels last seen in 2015. The bulk of managed services ACV came from ITO ($2.7 billion, up 2 percent). Europe continued its shift to as-a-service, now 36 percent of the combined market, with ACV of $1.8 billion, up 9 percent. IaaS, at $1.3 billion, was up 7 percent, while SaaS, at $491million, was up 16 percent. Growth in the Nordics, Benelux and Southern Europe offset slight declines in DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), France and the U.K., as Brexit uncertainty persists.

Americas

In the second quarter, combined ACV in the Americas rose 6 percent, to $6.5 billion, on the strength of robust demand for as-a-service, which now represents a record 57 percent of the market. As-a-service ACV climbed 23 percent in the quarter, to $3.7 billion, including $2.6 billion for IaaS, up 29 percent, and $1.1 billion for SaaS, up 12 percent. Managed services, meanwhile, declined 10 percent, to $2.8 billion, as ITO slumped 22 percent, to $1.8 billion, even as BPO surged 25 percent, to $1 billion.

Asia Pacific

Combined market ACV in Asia Pacific reached a record $2.2 billion, up 6 percent. On the strength of larger awards, managed services produced its best quarter in five years, with ACV of $967 million, up 15 percent. China, South Korea and India had the largest gains, offsetting weakness in Japan and Australia/New Zealand. As-a-service, flat at $1.3 billion, eclipsed the $1 billion ACV level for the sixth straight quarter, amid uneven IaaS results in China, which pushed regional IaaS down 3 percent, to $1.1 billion. SaaS, meanwhile, rose 18 percent, to $206 million.

“We are projecting 22 percent year-on-year revenue growth for the remainder of 2019 in the as-a-service market,” said Hall. “This takes into account a slightly more optimistic view of the SaaS segment and factors in some uncertainty in IaaS, particularly in China and elsewhere in Asia Pacific.

“In the overall IT and business services market, we are raising our growth forecast slightly, to 3.5 percent, through the end of the year. However, given some of the macro-level trends, we will remain alert to any negative developments that could signal an overall downward trend.”

www.isg-one.com

SEACOM upgrades CloudWorx for public cloud networks and data centres in South Africa

Moving to meet the requirements of an evolving corporate ICT marketplace, Pan-African Internet and connectivity service provider SEACOM is expanding its CloudWorx cloud connectivity solutions. 

CloudWorx is a versatile, private connectivity service for businesses that connects corporate customers directly to the leading cloud-service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, SEACOM’s CloudWorx was primarily provisioned through the provider’s network interconnections with data centres in Europe and was exclusive to companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The revised and upgraded CloudWorx continues to provide low latency and secure access when connecting to cloud providers overseas, but now also includes access to public cloud networks and data centres located in South Africa – accomplished via SEACOM’s presence in open-access Teraco Data Environments.

In addition, as SEACOM extends its South African national network, CloudWorx will increasingly be available to corporate customers outside the country’s major metros.

The shift in scale of CloudWorx availability reflects SEACOM’s growth as a connectivity and business solutions provider.

Approved by regulatory authorities on 1 March, SEACOM has acquired 100% of FibreCo Telecommunications, a national fibre network with infrastructure, connectivity services and over 60 Points of Presence across South Africa.

This ever-expanding footprint will bring SEACOM cloud connectivity solutions, like CloudWorx, to businesses in hitherto neglected economic centres such as Bloemfontein and East London.

Whether your requirements are to connect to the newly-launched Azure or AWS data centres in South Africa or Google and Oracle based out of Amsterdam, SEACOM has the presence, infrastructure and scalability to help South African (and East African) businesses fast-track and support their cloud migration strategy.

The FibreCo acquisition introduces over 4700km of national fibre, in addition to SEACOM’s pioneering subsea cable system connecting East Africa to South Africa, Europe and Asia.

This robust network lets SEACOM customers take advantage of a high-speed, flexible and resilient backbone from an end-to-end perspective. International capacity on the SEACOM network is currently lit at 1.5 Tbps and the South African national backbone is being upgraded to 1 Tbps.

Across the board, fibre access is uncontended and unshared to provide corporates with carrier-grade, scalable connectivity.

Scalability and general fluidity are key considerations for South African businesses to future-proof their cloud migration strategy. Cloud provider requirements may switch between public Internet access and dedicated private connectivity.

Meanwhile, individual businesses may see their cloud usage change in line with their growth strategy, using office software-as-a-service today and data-intensive AI analytics tomorrow.

As Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM, explains, “Through SEACOM’s investments in undersea & terrestrial fibre, coupled with its interconnections with the major Cloud Providers both locally and internationally, SEACOM has the highest-speed bandwidth, low-latency routing, and a comprehensive set of options to ensure its clients can make effective use of the Cloud services in their businesses.”

Although it has benefits for medium to large businesses in all sectors, SEACOM CloudWorx is versatile enough to cater for industries such as the Mining Sector who may have limited requirements for cloud connectivity, to the Financial Services Sector, which has strict security and throughput requirements driven by their day to day operational needs.

 In these applications, utilising software-as-a-service platforms, hosted in a cloud environment, results in increased speed, security and application efficiency.

With CloudWorx users experience higher security, lower latency, increased reliability and greater speed in comparison to public Internet connectivity to cloud platforms.

In line with SEACOM’s commitment to growing business in Africa, CloudWorx is a specialist approach to cloud connectivity that prioritises flexibility and scalability for customers. Local organisations can leverage it to improve their efficiency and competitiveness as the wholesale digitisation of work takes hold.

www.seacom.com

[[$links]]

[Column] Hans van Linschoten: Data sovereignty in Africa, why you should care

African businesses are currently making massive investments in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance service delivery.

Talking with industry leaders and experts across the continent, one thing is clear, they’re making these investments because they want to adopt the flexibility and benefits of the cloud.

The cloud services sector in Africa might be in its early stages of development, but the impact is already far-reaching. Large firms are using compute capabilities and AWS database to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base. A number of African cloud-native startups are also leveraging the cloud to disrupt the entire industry.

There is significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year. This, together with all cloud related businesses happening in Africa, tells you how much businesses can benefit from cloud.

Even as this happens, there’s one concern that cannot be ignored when it comes to matters of cloud; the physical location of data centers. This is because data sovereignty is a crucial factor in many countries.

Data sovereignty is the concept that digital data is subject to the laws of the country in which it is processed. Data stored in Uganda for example falls under Uganda’s privacy laws (The Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019), as well as data that flows within its borders.

With the increase in Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud storage services in recent years, their use often entails cross-border data transfers, which can result in major compliance challenges for users and even the providers. Once your data travels outside of a country’s borders it becomes subject to the law(s) of the land in which it is stored.

The main concern associated with data sovereignty is maintaining privacy regulations and keeping foreign countries from being able to sub open data. This here is the very reason why African businesses need to care.

This can be a complex legal issue that has the capacity to affect organizations worldwide.  For example, we can have a Kenyan cloud service provider that has its main office including accounting, sales and marketing and even operations in Uganda while their customer service call center is in Germany. This implication here is that certain personal information about accounts must be sent to Germany in order for them to contact clients and provide support. If Germany’s Privacy Principles (APP) stipulate that the cloud provider must disclose what information is being sent out of Germany, then there’s the potential for an organization’s personal data to be sub opened by a foreign government. In some countries like Indonesia, regulators stipulate that financial data cannot be stored outside the country without approval. 

There are clear regulations which we cannot run away from and need to be observed. Most established organizations I engage with that are actively embracing cloud, care deeply about where their data resides. Some African banks already have regulations requiring financial data to be stored in their countries and this is a good starting point.

Bottom line, having data in the cloud offers many benefits; it allows for easier flow of information and for safe and easy remote backup of files and data and in many cases, saves cost.

African developers and organizations should see this as an opportunity to tap into local cloud solutions to ensure data sovereignty is observed.  The more data sovereignty we have in Africa, the better protected Africans are by African privacy laws and the less reliance there is on internet infrastructure from outside.

Hans van Linschoten is the founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud

www.afriqloud.com

Also read: 

Launch afriQloud: Leapfrogging Africa’s innovation agenda with local cloud solutions

afriQloud – Time for more African businesses to move to the cloud

The African cloud has arrived. Yesterday, afriQloud went live in Uganda, with plans to launch in 15  additional African countries in 2020. 

afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.  It is a product of pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company GIG Technology.

afriQloud comes at a time when African businesses are making massive investments in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base. And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The cloud services sector in the continent might be in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching. 

Why is afriQloud important?

Well, as I mentioned earlier African businesses and organisations are making massive investments in cloud services. In fact, for African markets, cloud, virtualization and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. 

Hans van Linschoten, founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud said in a statement yesterday  “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year’’

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is however hosted on servers outside the continent. afriQloud is bringing those servers to Africa and African businesses need to take advantage of this. Businesses will now be able to access virtual IT technology and infrastructure; streamlined software and applications; and efficient backups and disaster recovery systems. Cloud technology provides access to software that ultimately reduces costs on so many levels, and can be customised to best suit the relevant business, it is the perfect solution for SMEs in Africa to ensure they remain competitive in the global market.

Opening up of the global market according to Fabrice Langreney, CEO of BringCom will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in the deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards. This will also help them to design their own map to cloud success. By doing so, African businesses have almost limitless paths and roadways that they can draw – and reshape – to help drive their business growth.

Remember the solution for Africa’s challenges will come from within Africa. Technology is the same all over the world; the difference lies in building solutions that answer and address local socio-economic challenges. With afriQloud, companies in Africa can now emerge from a situation where they have had more rudimentary applications and business processes to where they have unleashed the power of cloud technologies which makes it easier and far more efficient to automate services.

‘’…..and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019, we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”  Hans van Linschoten concluded. 


www.afriqloud.com

afriQloud launches in Uganda, 15 African countries to follow in next year

Leapfrogging Africa’s innovation agenda with local cloud solutions

Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, in partnership with science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company, GIG Technology, have together birthed what is to provide the African technology industry with cloud sovereignty – afriQloud.

Today launched in Uganda, afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.

Hans van Linschoten, founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud: “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year, and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019 we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is currently hosted on servers outside the continent. Implementation of edge cloud computing services in Africa has been adversely affected by lack of reliable and secure connectivity from various service providers. The cost of setting up ICT infrastructure with improved data latency and minimized downtime has also contributed to the slow adoption of cloud solution across the continent.

Mark Simmonds, Chairman of GIG Technology: ”Although cloud adoption is predominantly private, the African markets are generating a growth of 30% in public cloud sales. Few other ICT market segments in the African tech ecosystem have the potential of adding an incremental $2 billion in top line revenue over the next 5 years.”

Fabrice Langreney, CEO of BringCom: “Opening up of the global market will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards.”

afriQloud is also building bridges to the African incubators and tech hubs. More than 440 tech hubs are available today and more funding is being raised by tech startups across the African continent. The aim of afriQloud is to have the Edge Cloud installed in cities and tech hub ecosystems which hosts a high number of startups and developers. Now present and operational in Uganda, afriQloud will be spreading its services further into the different regions of Africa this year.

Willem Hendrickx, CEO of GIG Technology: “We believe in partnerships and the creation of local economy using our cloud technology. Having assessed the cloud readiness of different African markets, we are thrilled to launch in Kampala.”

Hans van Linschoten: “We have hit the ground and we intend to keep up the pace. This service in Africa is long overdue. In a few months, we will expand our service in East Africa – Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia will be afriQloud active very soon. We are working through channels in Southern Africa as well – Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique are our next target markets. And of course the West African region is good and ripe for the plucking. Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon – we’ll be present in all these countries this year! We’re very much looking forward to working with tech startups, MNOs, ISPs, government institutions, banks and financial institutions, universities – there is much to be done, and the time to begin is now.”

About afriQloud

afriQloud is a partnership of several selected hi-tech companies (mainly telco and Internet) with the aim of bringing their technology to emerging markets, Africa in particular. afriQloud has incorporated a subsidiary in Uganda – afriQloud Uganda Limited – from where it has started to build a business which is to expand throughout a minimum of 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.www.afriqloud.com

About BringCom

BringCom Incorporated, headquartered in Sterling, VA, USA has built Pan-African Ethernet and MPLS networks with its own regional hubs (PoPs) in Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, Djibouti, Nairobi, Kampala and Lagos. BringCom has been offering international and last-mile connectivity solutions since 1992 to enterprises and government customers in the United States, Africa and the Middle East. It delivers secure and reliable Ethernet, MPLS, IPLC and DIA services for enterprise WAN and SD-WAN connectivity.

www.bringcom.com

About GIG Technology

GIG is a high-growth European software company developing and employing a fully-automated edge cloud for companies looking to effectively scale their digital infrastructure at the Edge. GIG’s vision is to build the most distributed edge cloud where any applications can freely move as close as possible to the user, enabling industries to realize a true digital transformation.

www.gig.tech

About Imprimatur Capital

Imprimatur Capital is an international boutique science and technology investor. Imprimatur Capital specializes in medium and long term intellectual property (IP) opportunities, emerging from a unique international network, including leading universities and research institutions. Established in 2003 and headquartered in London, Imprimatur Capital is a direct investor and a UK FCA regulated fund management company. Imprimatur Capital collaborates and partners internationally with experienced investment, finance and technology professionals, including high-net-worth and institutional shareholders, to deliver a return on investment.

www.imprimaturcapital.com